Travel Essentials: Layering Basics For Cold Weather

Before you pack up for your ski trip or winter wonderland vacation, make sure you pack the right layering pieces to keep toasty warm.

When it comes to visiting a cold destination this winter, the last thing you want it to feel … cold. That is the fastest way to go from enjoying winter and snow, to just being miserable. So, when we’re jetting off to a destination that comes with chilly temps, we’re never without these key layering pieces. 

  1. A base layer: To wick away sweat

Your first instinct to keep warm might be to put on the thickest, coziest sweater you can find. But actually thin, strategic layers are what will truly keep you warm. Starting with a base layer. Look for material that provides sweat wicking, because once you sweat, that’s when the cold can set in. There are a host of materials to choose from all with slightly different wicking possibilities, like polyester and nylon, or natural fibers like merino wool and silk. Our current favourite base layers are UNIQLO’s HeatTech line of tops and bottoms (from warm to ultra warm, leggings to boat neck undershirts and turtle necks chic enough to wear on their own). They’re also super thin making for easy packing and easy to wear under you favourite every day clothes if you’re just doing a winter weekend escape in say Quebec City. From here you can layer on another light weight, thin sweater or two. 

  1. A middle layer: To retain heat 

The middle layer is key, whether you’re trekking a hill in the winter or on a chilly hike around a lake, or strolling cobble stoned streets in Berlin. It’s like an insurance layer to keep you warm and toasty, but is not bulky. Our go-to option when it comes to a middle layer is something super light-weight but with high-performing materials like a Patagonia puffer jacket. Think, packable and oh-so-warm. It’s what we layer under out mid-length wool coat for walking around NYC, Copenhagen or Toronto. It’s also perfect under a ski jacket, or a more heavy duty parka for when temperatures dip well below zero, or you’re in a spot with a lot of snow and ice. 

  1. An outer layer: To protect from the elements

If you’re really embracing winter (i.e. in a wintery destination that is very cold and snowy like a ski trip or further north) you will want an outer layer that protects from wind, rain, snow and anything else Mother Nature might throw at you. Canadian-made Woods parkas and other jackets have been put through the harshest conditions to test their durability and strength against the cold and elements. If you’re in a city destination (one that is definitely snowy and chilly, but not dramatic in cold temperatures), layering a wool coat over top with a scarf will usually do the tick to keep you warm, stylish and not too hot. 

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